Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Oh, So THIS is What Running Feels Like!

Well hello there, everyone! It's been a while...like a 7 month while...since I started a running hiatus. The initial reason was I randomly cracked one of my lumbar vertebra back in March, and that led to a bulging disc and a couple months of insane pain. During all that fun, my dad's health took a sudden turn for the worse and he passed away in May. If the physical pain of my back was the catalyst for a running break, the death of my dad was even more affecting in a mental/emotional way. I know this, because when I was given the OK by my doctor to start running again, I did for one day, but it wasn't the same. Running is usually fun for me - I get to turn my brain off for 1 to 60 hours and just let my legs take me where I need to go. When all is not well in my non-running world, I have an almost impossible time going out for even the shortest run. My brain can't kick back in its skull hammock to relax and let my legs run freely when something is wrong with a friend or family member. For months after my dad's death, I had none of the mental rest I need to be interested in running at all. During that time I also bought a new house, which is awesome, but as anyone who has moved and not been lobotomized immediately thereafter knows, is also an insanely exhausting amount of work. ....and to end the list of things I'm whining about here, my Fall was also the busiest I've ever been at work. You know when you're putting in 70 and 80 hr work weeks, you're working a little too hard.

Me and my old man at the finish of my very first ultra (North Country 50M in Michigan, 2006)
....but every storm eventually blows through, and I'm happy to report the skies are looking nice and clear right now. Over the weekend, I finished setting up the utility room in our basement, complete with a new (to me) treadmill and the kind of Spartan feel I love when hammering out hard training miles around the clock to get back into shape. My theory is if you're staring at a concrete wall for miles and miles on the ol' hamster wheel, then the pleasure of getting out into the mountains for races makes for a nice analgesic from the leg/lung pain. The immortal quote from the movie DodgeBall: "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!", always runs through my head when I psych myself up in training with, "If you can run for 5 hours on a treadmill staring at a wall, you can run any ultra distance you want."

Not exactly the buffed trails of Marin County or a 5-Star Health Club, but nothing beats a true Pain Cave when you have 7 months of rust to kick off!
Now the whining stops and the work begins once again. As AC/DC reminds us: "It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n' roll"...and I most definitely want to rock and roll down some trails in 2015, so it's off to Pain Cave Studios for me! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all, and I look forward to having some fun race reports to write next year!